If you are a fan of Turkish cuisine, then you are probably just as obsessed with kebabs as we are. There are several types of kebab in Turkey. Let’s learn the most famous Turkish kebabs below!
The most popular Turkish food is kebab! The best kebabs in Turkey are always in casual restaurants, so if you happen to visit Turkey, don’t look for luxurious places to eat kebab. They serve kebabs with several amazing side dishes on the side.
And if you are into Turkish foods, you should check out our most loved Turkish recipes too!
You can also find Turkish flatbread pizza pide and lahmacun at these kebab restaurants. So you can order whichever you like. And don’t forget to end your meal with one of yummy Turkish desserts.
The kebab cuisine, as we like to call it, has a ton of different types of kebab ranging in flavor, cooking methods, and even the way they are served. But in Turkey, kebab or kabob is considered to be any type of skewered meat that has been cooked over charcoal.
Today, we have compiled a list of the best Turkish kebab recipes for you! These have extremely authentic flavors that will make you feel like you are busy eating a kebab in Turkey at this very moment! But let's learn more about kebab before moving onto the list.
What is Kebab?
Kebab, or kebap as we say, is a Turkish national food that has taken the world by storm. There are a ton of different varieties and Turkish skewers (or kebabs) are anything that has been cooked over a charcoal grill – it doesn't even have to be on separate skewers! But we also make kebabs in a pan over high heat or even in a clay pot in the oven.
Doner kebab is the most well-known kebab globally and is usually made with lamb meat or chicken. Check out our homemade chicken doner kebab!
The second world-famous kebab is Turkish shish kebab (şiş kebap). Although lamb is the preferred meat for it, beef or chicken is also commonly used.
Famous Turkish Kebab Recipes
Here you will find a variety of homemade Turkish kebab recipes alongside some of our favorite accompaniments. All of these recipes are easy to make and will leave your guests begging for more!
One of the first things in kebab cuisine you have to learn is how to make kebab with chicken. To make Turkish chicken kebabs, you need to use chopped chicken and marinate it. The best option is to make these on the grill but you can make them in the oven too. They are often served with roasted green peppers, red peppers, and roasted tomatoes.
If you want to learn how to use chicken to make Turkish kebab, check out our chicken kebab recipe in oven! We use an extraordinarily delicious kebab chicken marinade that contains simple spices, milk, and olive oil.
Also, check out our stuffed whole chicken recipe.
Turkish lamb kebabs are the most popular kebabs around the country. Lamb shish kebabs are often made with marinade cubed meat that has been threaded onto a skewer. You can easily make these on the grill or in a cast iron grill pan.
You can also incorporate any vegetable onto your lamb shish kebab recipe, and personally, we love adding some roasted peppers and tomatoes. You can serve these alongside a delicious shepherd salad.
Doner is a popular kebab that has taken the world by storm! It is a Turkish kebab that is made from either lamb, beef, or chicken that slowly rotates on a vertical spit while being roasted. The meat is then carefully sliced paper thin and served in lavash bread or flat bread bazlama.
This extremely popular street food closely resembles a Greek gyro. Unlike Turkish doner kebabs, gyro is served with tzatziki in pitta bread.
If you want to learn how to make doner kebab at home, check out our homemade doner kebab recipe.
Iskender kebab is a type of doner kebab, but only much more advanced. Where it differs is the way it is served. Doner meat is served on top of chopped pide bread accompanied by a rich tomato sauce and melted butter sauce. It is also crucial that you serve this kebab alongside some strained yogurt.
The best Iskender kebabs are found in Bursa city. If you aren’t planning on visiting anytime soon, you can try our homemade iskender kebab recipe that is very close to the real thing!
This is our favorite Turkish kebab. The ground lamb Adana kebab recipe originated in the South-East of Turkey in a town called Adana. It is an extremely spicy ground meat kebab that has been packed tightly on wide metal skewers. We use flat wooden skewers in our homemade version and they work fine too. To make Urfa kebab, you can use the recipe for Adana kebab and simply use less hot spices.
Adana kebabs are commonly served with several sides like roasted onions, sumac onions, and a bunch of fresh herbs. In big cities, however, it is served with tomato bulgur pilaf on the side.
If you want to learn how to make Adana kebabs, we have just the recipe for you! This is an authentic Turkish kebab recipe that only uses 4 ingredients!
Kofta kebab is another category of minced lamb kebabs that are also sometimes made with a combination of ground beef and lamb meat. They are combined with a wide variety of spices and packed onto a wooden skewer in sausage shapes before being grilled.
Kofta kebabs are way easier to make than you might think. Just use your regular grill or oven grill to roast the kebabs on the skewer. Learn all the tips of making kefta kebabs at home and make your family happy! Enjoy these alongside our famous cacik recipe!
We Turks use eggplants in a ton of kebab recipes. A classic eggplant kebab is usually made with either chopped lamb meat or meatballs. We also like to make it in the oven, but authentic eggplant kebabs are made on a charcoal grill.
You can use our easy eggplant kebab recipe in the oven to bring the joy of this scrumptious kebab into your kitchen.
Also check out our karniyarik recipe.
This isn’t the same as a kofta kebab recipe, but you will find them in any Turkish restaurant. Almost every Turkish household has its very own version of meatballs or as we call them kofte. It has always been the favorite of kids! That’s why a typical Turkish mom always has some kofte in the freezer.
Kofte is the term used to describe Turkish meatballs that can be cooked over a grill, on the stovetop, or inside the oven. You can serve these with a hearty white bean salad piyaz.
It is definitely a life saver during weekdays if you know how to make Turkish kofte and freeze some for later use.
Also, check out our tomato sauce meatballs recipe.
As we said before, you can make kebabs from almost any food in Turkey. These veggie kebabs are a good example of this. These are not one of those traditional Turkish kebabs you can find at kebab restaurants. Yet, they make a wonderful vegan kebab option for those who don’t eat meat.
If you want to make meatless kebabs either to serve as a meal on their own or as a side to your meat kebabs, learn how to make vegetable kabobs in the easiest way.
Turkish Kebab Meat
In Turkey, lamb is considered as the best meat to make a kebab recipe because it is known as the softest meat. But it really depends on what kebab you want to make. So you can make lamb kebabs, beef kebabs, chicken kebabs and even liver shish kebabs (ciğer şiş). Traditionally, pieces of lamb tail fat are also included in kebabs for a richer flavor.
To make a Turkish beef kebab recipe or a chicken kebab recipe, you should marinate the meat. On the other hand, good quality lamb meat might not need to be marinated.
Also, ground lamb, ground beef and ground chicken are often used to make different types of kebabs. If you want to make a good lamb kebab recipe from Turkish cuisine, you should find the best lamb meat from your butcher. So ask for the freshest meat.
When making a Turkish ground beef kebab recipe, we prefer medium fat content. The fat content helps add moisture to your kebab and prevents it from drying out too much. Whatever kebab you decide to make, a combination of spices is almost a must in Turkey.
Kebab Spices In Turkey
Original Turkish kebab and spices go hand in hand! They are even served on the table if anyone wants to sprinkle over some more! Although it is super easy to prepare your own kebab or kofte spice mix, you can find these seasoning products of big brands at Turkish markets too.
For classic skewers (regardless of the type of meat used), paprika, chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, thyme and oregano are amongst the most popular.
For Adana kebab, pul biber (red pepper flakes), Aleppo pepper, isot pepper, or urfa pepper can all be incorporated. They add a very unique flavor and are also often incorporated into kofta kebab recipes.
When seasoning any shish lamb kebab recipe, salt, pepper, and paprika are building blocks, commonly accompanied by thyme. And when you are making any type of liver kebab, cumin is a must-add!
You can play around with some of these popular Turkish kebab spices and create your very own flavor profile!
Not every kebab recipe needs a marinade. A great rule of thumb is to check what type of meat the kebab is made from. Ground meat kebabs do not need any type of marinade.
Lamb shish kebabs, beef kebabs, and chicken shish kebabs that are made using chopped meat (not ground) taste way better when marinated.
We either use a milk marinade or yogurt marinade to make traditional Turkish kebabs. Besides yogurt or milk, we add olive oil, and a mix of kebab spices to the mixture. To make the kebabs taste a bit richer, we sometimes add tomato paste too. Even for more flavor, you can mash a garlic clove and add it into the mixture.
Marinating the meat overnight is the best but if you don't have enough time for it, add a little lemon juice in the marinade mixture and wait for at least 30 minutes.
Turkish kebabs are mostly served with a variety of side dishes and condiments. These include lots of herbs like fresh parsley, arugula, green onions, roasted onions or raw sumac onions, chili peppers, Turkish chili sauce called acili ezme, a type of salsa and haydari. And in most restaurants, kebabs are served after cig kofte has been served as a starter.
A large bowl of salad is a must when serving kebabs. You either see a variety of salads on a big restaurant menu or just one simple yet tasty salad called çoban salata at a small kebab house.
As for the drink, kebabs are often paired with yogurt drink ayran or şalgam suyu but we love to enjoy our kebab with a glass of cold beer too.
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
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Love your recipe's, been following you and downloading you recipe's for a number of years now. From South Africa.
Zerrin & Yusuf says
Such a lovely comment! So happy to hear you are enjoying our recipes. Thank you for letting us know!
Cheers from UK!